Next time you’re watching a film, notice how many of the shots are reaction shots where all we see is a character’s face, showing very little overt emotion, and maybe we hear some music as well. What is required of an actor for a shot like this is to trust the direction, the camera, the editing and the music to do most of the work. The danger is to do more than is necessary and therefore to appear unnatural. Remember, less is more. Just produce the inner emotion but don’t over-express it: if it’s there the camera will find it. And trust the editing: in cinema context rules. For example: the character smiles, but is he looking at a beautiful girl or a plate loaded with pasta? The smile may be the same, but the first shows lust, the second gluttony.
All of this requires a lot of confidence, the confidence to do very little or nothing. All the movie greats have that confidence. So the Words of Wisdom are Let the camera and the music do their work.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Sometimes you will find that a line in a script is difficult to say and doesn’t seem to work naturally. Often that’s because it contains two or more thoughts in one sentence and you need to Split the Line. For example: ‘She had a funny look on her face and then I noticed that she wasn’t wearing any shoes.’ The character delivering this line has two thoughts here, which in this case are the memory of two different images, of first the other person’s face and then their feet. When speaking the line visualise each image in turn. This will produce a slight break between the two parts of the sentence. It will come out as ‘She had a funny look on her face .. and then I noticed that she wasn’t wearing any shoes.’ You will have split the line, it will be easier to say and will communicate better to the audience. Recently I came across a line that contained no fewer than four thoughts. It was ‘I know, you told me last time but he explained everything and I really thought he’d changed.’ In this sentence the point of view keeps changing – note the personal pronouns: ‘I’, ‘you’, ‘he’ and ‘I’ showing the focus moving from person to person. So to deliver the line effectively you need to split it into four, like this: ‘I know .. you told me last time .. but he explained everything .. and I really thought he’d changed.’ Split a Line!